Celebrate the Bicycle!
The United Nations has declared June 3rd as International World Bicycle Day, by adopting a resolution during the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly in 2018, in New York City. The international day was the brainchild of Professor Leszek Sibilski of Montgomery College in Maryland.
The rationale for the UN’s declaration is a follows, “Acknowledging the uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle, which has been in use for two centuries, and that it is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation, fostering environmental stewardship and health, the General Assembly decided to declare 3 June World Bicycle Day.” The go on to point out the benefits of cycling to sustainable development, education, health and disease prevention, tolerance, inclusion, and peace.
Individuals and communities are encouraged to ride at a local level and develop a culture of cycling within society.
The UN focuses on walking and cycling as important ways to improve health and health equity. Some of the many reasons to celebrate the bicycle were shared by them:
- The bicycle is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation;
- The bicycle can serve as a tool for development and as a means not just of transportation but also of access to education, health care and sport;
- The synergy between the bicycle and the user fosters creativity and social engagement and gives the user an immediate awareness of the local environment;
- The bicycle is a symbol of sustainable transportation and conveys a positive message to foster sustainable consumption and production, and has a positive impact on climate.
H.E. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the General issued a statement on June 3, 2020 that begins, “This year, on World Bicycle Day, we acknowledge the uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle.” He went on to add., “I wish a happy World Bicycle Day to all bicycle enthusiasts!”
The full statement is below:
WORLD BICYCLE DAY
H.E. TIJJANI MUHAMMAD-BANDE, PRESIDENT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (JUNE 3, 2020)
This year, on World Bicycle Day, we acknowledge the uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle.
Bicycles are used every day across our globe -from the most affluent nations- to developing, and the least developed countries.
Evidence suggests that even before COVID-19, many people turned to cycling as an affordable and equitable mode of transportation, leading to a longer and healthier life. Cycling has not only proven to improve physical health, but also has a positive impact on mental health and subjective well-being.
In many countries, owning a bicycle has an even more significant impact for families, lifting them out of poverty, while providing them with improved access to quality education, jobs, markets, and community activities when public transportation is unavailable.
In times of COVID-19, cities are being challenged to rethink their infrastructure, with bicycles playing a vital role in offering a quiet, economical, and non-polluting alternative to cars and public transportation systems.
Safe, efficient, low carbon and affordable mobility for all is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Investing in city infrastructure to support cycling, from protected lanes to bike-share programs, will contribute to a more safe, resilient and sustainable future for all of us.
I wish a happy World Bicycle Day to all bicycle enthusiasts!
For more information, visit the United Nations’ World Bicycle Day page.